Marija Pientka enters her sixth year as Associate Athletic Director and 14th year overall at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Pientka's duties at Wisconsin include direct oversight over all Badger athletics development operations, including major gift solicitation for endowments and capital projects, suite and club seat sales; and the annual membership campaign and its related ticket, parking and special event benefits. Pientka also oversees all ticket operations.
In addition, Pientka also supervises men's and women's tennis and spirit squads. She serves as the Athletic Department liaison with the UW Foundation and Wisconsin Alumni Association.
Pientka and her development team work closely with university advancement to coordinate athletics giving at all levels. During her tenure at Wisconsin, both gift dollars and number of donors have more than doubled, increasing from $8 million to an all-time high of $28.5 million in 2011 and from 7,400 to over 15,000 donors.
She was integral in developing and launching the Badger Fund, the department’s first-ever comprehensive annual fund program which now generates over $10 million annually for student-athlete scholarships. Additionally, Pientka was integral in initially developing and marketing Wisconsin’s 108 luxury suites and 1,000 club seats, which have maintained sold out status since their inception and generate $8 million annually. During her tenure, Wisconsin has secured over $110 million in private gifts for the construction or renovation of athletics facilities such as the Camp Randall Stadium, La Bahn Arena, Student-Athlete Performance Center, Heritage Hall, Golf Training Center, Goodman Softball Training Center and Porter Boathouse.
She is Immediate Past President of the National Association of Athletic Development Directors and previously served on the Board of Directors for the National W Club and Madison, WI Chapter of the Executive Women's Golf Association.
Pientka began her career in athletics administration as an undergraduate at Wisconsin, serving as a student assistant in the athletic communications office. She then served a two-year stint as a communications intern at the Big Ten Conference.
A graduate of UW with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, Pientka returned to Madison in 1997 to serve as an athletics development director and was then promoted to assistant athletic director for development in 2002.
Pientka was an all-America and one of only four Badgers to be a four-time, first-team All-Big Ten selection in tennis. She earned Academic All-Big Ten honors three years and currently ranks seventh in career singles wins and third in career doubles wins at Wisconsin.
Pientka and her husband Jim reside in Middleton, WI. They have two daughters: Sophia (3) and Alea (1). Pientka is also stepmother to Jim’s two children: Jack (13) and Jessica (10).